Friday, November 30, 2007
Illustration: Henri-Pierre Aberlenc
The Mofu people of northern
The Mofu who sees his compound invaded by termites and ants calls on the jaglavak for help. Dorylus colonies are not easy to find. After identifying the nest or colony of jaglavak on the move, the Mofu removes from the colony several hundred to a thousand, or even more, Dorylus soldiers. […]
The Mofu put the jaglavak on the ground within an ocher circle from which extends a path, also traced in ocher, that leads toward the area of the most badly infested house. The Mofu admit that they do not see the jaglavak operate, but they claim that two or three weeks later, the harmful insects have disappeared, and the jaglavak as well, for they do not remain in the compound …
The Exeter Book, a tenth century codex of Anglo-Saxon poetry is the largest collection of Old English literature. In addition to poems, there are about a hundred or so riddles (and yes, some of them are quite ribald!)
See if you can guess the answer to this 1,000-year old riddle:
Swings by his thigh / a thing most magical!
Below the belt / beneath the folds
Of his clothes it hangs / a hole in its front end,
stiff-set and stout / it swivels about.
Levelling the head / of this hanging tool,
its wielder hoists his hem / above his knee;
it is his will to fill / a well-known hole
that it fits fully / when at full length
He’s oft filled it before. / Now he fills it again.
How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I don't drink any alcohol but if I did - it would take 16 martinis to kill me.
One day, Brigham Nordstrom of
"The doctors took a scan. Then I had to get a second one done. They wanted to have another look."
Doctors had found one duplex kidney and one triplex kidney. Instead of having one tube or ureter joining each kidney to the bladder, Mr Nordstrom had two tubes on the left and three on the right.
Accordingly, the duplex kidney has two parts and the triplex has three parts, meaning it is quite likely Mr Nordstrom has five kidneys altogether.
One of the first viral hits, the video features two Chinese students (Wei Wei and Huang Yi Xin) passionately lip-synching to the Backstreet Boys' "I Like It That Way" to a cheap Webcam in their dorm room. I can't tell whether I hate or love these guys, especially the freaky one on the left (Wei Wei), but I keep watching because I like the guy in the background playing Counter Strike. According to Wikipedia, the "Back Dorm Boys," as they've come to be called, were later signed as spokespeople for Motorola cell phones in
You never get a second chance to make a last impression. Ransom Riggs of mental_floss wrote and directed an animated video that takes us on a tour of famous people in history and their famous last words, all set to a catchy tune and hosted by the Grim Reaper himself!
It looks like a futuristic space ship skimming over the ocean’s surface. Or maybe a triangular shaped prototype aircraft launched from the depths.
In fact it is a Mobula Ray, a smaller cousin of the Manta Ray, which puts on a spectacular leaping display. Mobula Ray pictures reveal spectacular leaps […]
They hurtle up from the depths and leap several feet into the air often turning somersaults in the process.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Most people assume that earthworms come to the surface during heavy rains to avoid drowning in their tunnels. In fact, worms can live totally submerged in water, so drowning isn’t the problem. But the rainwater that filters down through the ground contains very little oxygen, so the real reason earthworms come to the surface is to breathe.
Once above ground, earthworms are very sensitive to light, and even a brief exposure to the sun’s rays can paralyze them. Unable to crawl back into their burrows, they eventually dry out and die on the sidewalk.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The atmospheric phenomenon known as a circumhorizon(tal) arc, or "Fire rainbow", appears when the sun is high in the sky (i.e., higher than 58° above the horizon), and its light passes through diaphanous, high-altitude cirrus clouds made up of hexagonal plate crystals. Sunlight entering the crystals' vertical side faces and leaving through their bottom faces is refracted (as through a prism) and separated into an array of visible colors. When the plate crystals in cirrus clouds are aligned optimally (i.e., with their faces parallel to the ground), the resulting display is a brilliant spectrum of colors reminiscent of a rainbow. The example shown above was captured on camera as it hung for about an hour across a several-hundred square mile area of sky above northern Idaho (near the Washington border) on 3 June 2006.
Make your own Angry-Gram.
It knows how to play dead. During drought periods, the fern goes grey and curls up, appearing to be completely dead. When it receives even a tiny bit of water, it turns lush and green again. Some have estimated that it could be resurrected after up to 100 years.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. Our current energy sources -- coal, oil, gas -- are ultimately derived from ancient plants -- they're "concentrated sunlight." He asks, Can we learn from that process and accelerate it? Can we get to the point where we grow our own energy as efficiently as we grow wheat? (Less than a month after this talk, his company announced a process to do just that.)
Americans excel at inventing colorful expressions and slang, but it turns out other countries are pretty good at it, too. Here are a list of useful words from around the world that should’ve been invented for the English language:
Modré Pondeli (Czech): "Blue Monday" - When you skip coming in to work to give yourself a three-day weekend.
Pana po’o (
McMurdo Station in Antartica is a science research center operated by the
One of the first - if not the very first - controlled experiments was actually described in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel tested the effects of eating simply (a diet of pulse or lentils and other seeds) versus a kingly feast of meat and wine:
12Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
Friday, November 23, 2007
To call attention to this problem and to raise funds to eliminate landmines, Norwegian artist Morten Traavik launched a controversial beauty pageant called Miss Landmine, where 10 women competed for the title of most beautiful mutilated Angolan woman, and the first prize of a leg prosthesis.
Where Keukenhof is situated now, was a hunting area in the 15th century. Herbs for the kitchen of the
Other examples are: clearly misunderstood, random pattern, true fiction, deliberate mistake, and harmless crime.
For centuries indigenous people in northern
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
To use the online colour thesaurus, simply type the colour name in a text field. Once you have typed in your color name click on 'submit' and the results will be displayed.
During spring in
Paul Rothemund compares his work to "casting a spell" -- and it does seem akin to magic. By writing a set of instructions, he can cause bits of DNA to fold themselves into a smiley face, a star, a triangle. Sure, it's a stunt, but it's also a fascinating window into the possibility of self-assembly at the smallest of scales. In other words: today a smiley face, tomorrow a micro-microprocessor.
Santa Claus left a comment at my site today, reminding me about his personal blog. The latest post tells about the launch of his business blog, Corporate Responsibility @ The North Pole, where you can look up Santa’s stance on volunteerism, animal rights, environmental practices, and more.LINK
Monday, November 19, 2007
Attention slobs! Tired of getting hassled by your parents/spouse/roommate for not making up your bed in the morning? Well, tell them that science has proven that messy beds are actually healthier:
Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies. A
Researcher Dr Stephen Pretlove said: "We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.
"Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die."
On November 16, 1904, British engineer John Ambrose Fleming patented the vacuum tube . This ushered in the age of modern electronics, leading to the development of radio, TV, and other forms of electronic equipment. Vacuum tubes were standard until the advent of the transistor. The US Supreme Court eventually invalidated Fleming’s patent, but he is still known as the inventor of the vacuum tube.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This flash-based interactive map works using data from the Gracenote Media Database and shows data in states, regions, countries, and continents around the world.
Tree ants (Allomerus decemarticulatus) in the Amazon construct elaborate traps for other insects they feed upon. They build these traps from tree fibers reinforced with fungus. When an unsuspecting insect encounters the trap, the ants emerge from hiding underneath and pull the prey’s legs to immobilize them, almost like a torture rack. Then they dismember the victim and carry the parts off to the colony. This method of “drawing and quartering” allows the ants to dine on insects much larger than themselves.
Yesterday I stumbled upon an article on unwarranted fears and discovered there was a phobia called Caligynephobia, the fear of beautiful women. At first I didn't believe someone could actually be afraid of a beautiful woman. But it's true, Caligynephobia does exist.
For all those suffering from the fear of beautiful women, there's an effective treatment for Caligynephobia.
When a group (wisdom? parliament? stare? study? Take a pick of your favorite animal collectives) of baby owls became orphaned, they found a new surrogate mom: a stuffed toy!
A group of orphaned baby owls snuggle up to a cuddly toy which has become their surrogate mum after they were found on the brink of death in the wild.
The tiny tawny owl chicks burrow in under the fluffy toy’s wings to keep warm after they were separated from their own mothers. […]
The group have all bonded and snuggle up close to each other and to the cuddly toy owl dubbed ‘mummy owl’, which has to be washed regularly because she gets so much love.
Friday, November 16, 2007
A vertebrate “food chain” fossil has been found in
The fossilized trio lived 290 million years ago in the shallow coastal waters of a freshwater lake in the
Several pieces of evidence suggest the animals must have formed part of a single food chain.
The Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is a variety of flower mantis usually found in
Scientists had just discovered how placenta avoid being attacked by the mother’s immune system: it fools the body’s defenses by acting like a parasitic worm!
The placenta plays a vital role in pregnancy, acting as a link between the mother and foetus and providing it with essential nutrients.
However, as both the placenta and foetus have a different genetic make-up from the mother, in theory they are at risk of attack from her immune system.
The researchers already knew that the placenta secreted a small protein - neurokinin B (NKB) - which is found in significantly higher levels in mothers when pre-eclampsia develops. […]
However, they found that the placental form of the protein did not react in the same way as the form they had been using in the laboratory.
It was clear that a modification was occurring during the synthesis of the protein by the placenta. Further investigation revealed that placental NKB contained the molecule phosphocholine, which is used by the parasitic nematode worm to avoid attack by the immune system of the host in which it lives.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The rivulus is notorious for being the only fish that can naturally self-fertilize and is also known to breathe air for long periods of time. However, scientists accidentally discovered that this odd American fish can live in logs while breathing air for months at a time, a behavior they now call “logpacking” since many rivulas will pack together inside a single log.
saa - same as always.
e2eg - ear to ear grin.
g2e - got to eat.
raggin - mom is calling me.
t2yl - talk to you later.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
"They’re pretty ugly," said Jon Reum, a University of Washington doctoral student who spent his summer working on the marine survey. "They’ve got this gnarly spine on their backs, they bite, and they’re just a pain to work with."
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Sunday, November 11, 2007
Use the Website-Suck-Flowchart to find out whether your site is Brainrot, Web 2.0 fluff, a Fanboy site, if you're a Newb Ego Blogger, /dev/null, or the Real Deal.
It seems this site is the Real Deal.
Is it true you have to be a postgrad to read my blog? I can't believe that. But according to the Blog Readability Test it's true. And is that good or bad?